Your Website is a Living Thing
Congratulations, your new website is out into the world, ready to be discovered by wonderful people far and wide! This isn’t the end of your journey, however: to get the most out of the investment you’ve made on your website, you’ll need to update and maintain it.
Like a newborn person, your website is all hope and potential and investment come to fruition. Unlike a newborn — thankfully! — there are no diapers or rough nights. Your website might not need daily attention, but it’s too important to let it go without adult supervision indefinitely. Unless you’re investing in ongoing professional website support, that Adult-in-Charge is you. Don’t fret, though. You’ve got this.
What to Expect When You’re Launching a Website
A few tips to help make launching your website as hassle-free as possible:
- While it’s still in development, visit your website on all of your devices and in multiple browsers if you can. Ask some friends to do so as well, because fresh eyes can be valuable in finding errors that others might miss. If you find something that seems broken or is not working as expected, give your web team as much information as you can about it. Device and browser information is very helpful, as are screenshots.
- Read your website content again now that it’s framed by beautiful design. Now is not the time to re-write your website copy, but it is the perfect time to correct copy-level errors. If you have business hours, double-check them. If you have a staff page, make sure everyone’s name matches their photo and bio.
- Avoid adding new features or functionality near launch. Feature creep is particularly dangerous now, because it is distracting and can negatively impact your timeline. Your developer should be focused on methodical finishing touches, not brand new ideas. If something comes up that you can’t launch without, be prepared to delay your launch date as the project scope is redefined.
- Get to know the dashboard. If you plan to blog, know how to create a new post before you want to publish your first new entry. If you’re running an e-commerce website, get in there and dial in your shop settings before you make your first sale. Your web team can help you get acquainted, and be ready to explore the support documentation as well.
- Consider a soft launch before you shout your new website from actual or metaphorical rooftops. A soft launch extends your Quality Assurance period a bit, under real-life conditions. You can test the load speed on your web host, double-check that your security is dialed in, and that everything got put back together correctly after flying over our heads in a million pieces.
(Website) Parenthood is Forever
The heavy-lifting of the design, content creation, and development of your website may be over, but the work isn’t done. Now that you have the keys to your finished website, you’re in charge of updating and maintaining it so it can keep working its magic.
We’ve said before that Content is Queen on the web, and your website was designed to show it off. There’s no firm rule about how often your website content will need a refresh, but it should always be current and accurate.
Read your website copy periodically — does it still reflect who you are and what you do? Has your understanding of your audience or market shifted since your copy was written? If so, it might be time for an update so that your website remains true and authentic.
Keeping your software up-to-date goes a long way in maintaining the stability and security of your website. This is a great time to backup your database in case your web host experiences an outage — you’ll be able to restore from a recent copy of the site without too much downtime.
After you update your website CMS and any plugins, it’s a good idea to tour through the front end of your site to ensure that everything still looks and works as expected after the update.
You’ve gone on quite the journey to get to this point. Your website is ready to launch. You should definitely feel proud! But you should also feel prepared to handle everything that comes after launch, so you don’t have a meltdown if any issues occur. I hope this blog post helps you feel courageous as you get comfortable managing your new website. If you’d like to seek more of our help, we’d be delighted! Reach out to us today to learn more about our website support options.